Flash Fiction – Vomiting Butterflies

I thought things were going well between us. I thought that feeling in the pit of my stomach was butterflies at the thought, the sight of him. At least, that’s what I thought until I saw the other one again.

The one that got away is such a cliché but in this case it’s true. We were so close but there was a line in the sand that neither of us was ready to cross. Then it was suddenly too late. There was an invisible wall where the line used to be and though I could see him, the distance between us was too great and always expanding.

I told myself it was time to move on and turned my back to the wall. That was when they fixed me up with him, the one who was supposed to be perfect for me. And it all made sense for a while, a very little while.

I felt the things I thought I was supposed to feel. It’s why I didn’t notice that the butterflies in my stomach were making me sick. I thought I couldn’t eat because I was excited and thrilled. I didn’t listen to what my body was trying to tell me.

It took turning around and catching sight of him through that wall to realize that I had made a mistake. I was sick because what I was doing was wrong. My attention was in the wrong place. I was supposed to be fighting the wall that I could see but not get through. I couldn’t allow myself to become distracted by turning my back. I had to pay attention for any weak points in the wall. If I looked at it the right way, the distance between us was not so great.

But someone kept tapping my shoulder trying to get me to turn back around, trying to distract me from the wall.

It’s not you, it’s me. Do we wrap the truth in clichés to protect those we use them against or ourselves?

It didn’t matter. He couldn’t understand what it was about the wall that had me so focused. I don’t think he could see the wall was there at all even though I had told him all about it. He didn’t understand that if I turned around again, it would be worse than before. The butterflies in my stomach weren’t for him. If I turned around they would try harder than before to get out. I would wind up vomiting butterflies.

I didn’t want to have to push him away, but he left me no choice.


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